I read that the Bukit Selambau by-election could be a 12-cornered fight judging by the number of people taking forms and those who have expressed their will to contest. If this comes true, it will be the most hotly contested seat in the history of state election in Malaysia.
The motley crowded candidates, other than BN and PR candidates will probably be political lightweight and unknown. The independent candidates are probably attracted by the previous candidate Arumugan who contested as independent and won the seat.
They made simplistic assumption that they have a fighting chance. These independent candidates have forgotten that by-election is different than general election where the full forces of BN and PR will be utilized to ensure victory for its own candidate.
It is never easy to contest as an independent candidate in Malaysia politics unless the candidate is a well-known personality and be able to survive on his own. Face and name recognition is important in any election, more so in by-election.
An independent candidate does not have the support of party machinery and resources. Often they find that they require human and financial resources to carry out an election campaign. Without these 2, it is a no go situation.
Arumugan won in the last general election because of the wave of anti BN sentiment. Voters may be disappointed and disillusioned with the fact that Arumugan won and then joined PKR and later disappeared into the thin air.
I am given to understand that he provided hardly any service to his voters. Whether the same voters will vent their anger on PKR is anybody’s guess.
I am given to understand that Datuk Seri Samy Velu has been campaigning very hard in the constitution, spending 3 days a week in Bukit Selambau meeting and hearing grouses and complaints from Indians within the constituency.
Apparently, this has not gone down well with other BN leaders who think that he is a liability rather than an asset in the campaign.
I’ve known Sam Velu to be a hardworking, determined and at time abrasive and a not to be easily brushed off BN leader. I am sure he’s working hard to ensure that MIC candidate wins in Bukit Selambau Then, it is an endorsement of MIC rebranding. He must have in his mind the MIC party election at the end of April.
However, in Bukit Selambau constitution, the Malays still constitute 50% of the voters. If the majority of Malay voters still supports MIC candidate, then there’s a possibility that the candidate will zoom to victory.
Support from Chinese is equally crucial to ensure victory since they made up nearly one quarter (19.25%) of the 35, 000 voters.
Since the counting of votes is according to polling station, then it is not difficult to make good calculated guess where the winning candidate derive his support.